Posts Tagged ‘nightvision’

Mark Van Hoen at Magnet

Los Angeles-based, U.K.-born electronic pioneer Mark Van Hoen (who you might know from some of his work as Locust, Scala, Black Hearted Brother or one of the other 100 projects over the last 30 years) has released new album Nightvision on Saint Marie Records. Van Hoen compiled a video mix tape of inspirations and a bit of an intro into electronic music. He has never stopped working; he’s always producing new music and videos, performing and DJing.

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Mark Van Hoen at Lost Meow

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Mark Van Hoen, SPC ECO at Fear and Loathing

The world can be a very bizarre, very loud place at times. The insane volume of the current year’s unimpressive conclusions mixed with the annoying murmur of lives in motion, cars starting in the morning, empty laughter on lunch breaks, and meaningless chatter that booms within the walls of happy hour every day. December comes strutting in like a wounded woman, unknowingly beautiful feeling painfully invisible, but if you attempt to strike up a conversation, you will feel the sting of her disgust with reality. Art should never refer to itself as art. Those who observe it and flirt with it should decide that. The state of modern music is perplexing in many ways. Sonic introductions now reduced to a Tinder-like existence, swipe left, reject, swipe right, and listen. The average person now has an attention span of around seven seconds or so. This concept and fact-finding method has been applied to cinema, music, and newsfeeds that we all partake in. Flash and grab, strike a nerve, rattle an emotion but you better make it fast. I guess people are pretty scared to jump into the pool, the unpredictable chill of immersion. But then again it is December, and it does get pretty fucking cold.

Rearranged moods and obsessive grooves are the name of the game in two current releases that I’ve been letting myself get lost in recently. Saint Marie Records is a relatively new label with its own distinctive sound, there’s a certain crispness and mysterious hum within all of its releases. Whether it’s post-punk, shoegaze, dark-dream, or indie pop, each release is unique because it’s very obvious that artistic vision and creative prowess come before the need to launch “the next big thing”. The sounds of unhinged lust, jilted lovers, jealous rage, uncooperative desire, and mind-altered contemplation come to life in the latest albums by SPC ECO and Mark Van Hoen.

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Mark Van Hoen at Big Takeover

This London-based ambient electronica artist, AKA Locust, has covered a lot of stylistic ground in his career. This time he’s made a synth-heavy valentine to the spacier side of Krautrock (explicitly on “Froese Requiem I &II,” for Tangerine Dream mastermind Edgar Froese, who died earlier this year). Slowly swooshing melodies intertwine with percolating patterns, occasional drum-machine beats, and a few cosmic spoken bits. It’s not so much a throwback as a gentle modernization of a much-loved style by including little bits of IDM.

[From the print issue]

Mark Van Hoen at All Music

Nightvision is Mark Van Hoen‘s first album under his birth name since the preceding The Revenant Diary in 2012 — the producer issued You’ll Be Safe Forever (2013) and After the Rain (2014) asLocust. During that time, Van Hoen was involved with Children of the Stones and Black Hearted Brother, rather disparate and more collaborative projects that likewise yielded albums. On Nightvision, there’s a well-defined connection to the free-floating ambient Krautrock that informed all of After the Rain, but Van Hoen also puts new twists on his frost-coated beats. He pays tribute to Tangerine Dream leader and electronic music pioneer Edgar Froese (who died in early 2015) with a two-part, eight-minute requiem that recalls certain aspects of the electronic music pioneer’s discography while still sounding like a Van Hoen creation. “Socrates’ Books” and “I Love to Fly,” vaguely tranquilizing and terrifying at the same time, along with the beat-less “The Night Sky,” are also up there with Van Hoen‘s best. He still hasn’t made a poor or even middling album.


Mark Van Hoen at Stuff to Blow Your Mind

We’re about to break for Thanksgiving here at STBYM, so how about a little Space Music?

First up, electronic music veteran Mark Van Hoen just released his new album “Nightvision” on Saint Marie Records. If you’re not familiar with Hoen (or his work under the moniker “Locust”), then I can’t recommend his gloriously organic, time-traveling ambiance highly enough — and I probably think to time travel due to his wonderful 1998 album “Playing With Time.” The work is glitchy-yet-beautiful, littered with vocal remnants like those emerging from some warm, psychedelic journey though a personal timeline.

“Nightvision” follows much of the same path, favoring warmly nostalgic threads through a world of IDM electronic sound. Watch the music video “I Love to Fly” below, buy the album on Amazon and stream it in full on Spotify.


Mark Van Hoen at Raised By Gypsies

It doesn’t take a lot of musical knowledge or technical terms in your head to have heard music been referred to as created by composers before, but I truly feel as if Mark Van Hoen takes the term “composer” to a whole new level.    Every song is, essentially, composed by someone but not every song is composed in this way.   It’s the difference in food between a master chef and me with my microwave.    It’s the difference in art between Van Gogh and me with finger paints.   You get the idea.   I understand that “composer” can refer to just about anyone but it’s all I can think of with the music of Mark Van Hoen.

Through spatial tones and electronic strings, “Nightvision” has a quality to it which reminds me of a symphony.   It doesn’t feel like a combining of instruments to form a song but rather the way you picture a symphony playing.   Why does it feel different for an ensemble of fifty playing various instruments over three or four guys playing a drum kit and guitars I’m not sure but it just does and “Nightvision” has that bigger construction feel to it.    You can hear a flute and you can hear crashes right up until it sounds like something out of “The Twilight Zone” or “The X-Files” in that eerie sort of way.     Static also takes us into that John Carpenter “Halloween” theme type of feel but it mixes in with beats to take it to another level entirely.    This is what I’m trying to tell you here: what you think you’re hearing based on what you’ve heard before is on one level but Mark Van Hoen is taking it somewhere uncharted.

Distorted beats make an appearance in this electronic symphony with sort of pianos.   Even though some other form of electronic type of vocals might seem to be coming out within these songs, on the eighth track, “I Love To Fly”, you will eventually hear spoken word over beats and the such and it just comes out so well.   It is what I imagine the modern Beats would sound like if only people cared enough about poetry anymore to decide to go down that path.   As the title of the song suggests, the words have a lot to do with flying and at one point even state “The only bad part about flying is having to come back down”.   That could be interpreted any number of ways, but I’m going to go with the moral high ground here and think of it as the rush an artist might get from performing music live in front of other people who are equally into it.

Calling Mark Van Hoen a “composer” seems like an insult as nearly everyone who makes music can be considered one and he is just in a completely different space than everyone else.    So while anyone who makes music can be a composer, technically, I would have to consider Mark Van Hoen a master composer based upon his talents which can be heard in the electronic wonderland known as “Nightvision”.  I’ll leave you to draw the comparisons to this album with the title yourself, in the sense that most people see in the light but the music on here is like being able to see in the dark.   I’m not going to get into the whole nocturnal creature idea (is this CD raccoons?) but just keep that title in mind as you experience this work of beauty.



Mark Van Hoen at Brooklyn Vegan

Mark Van Hoen has been making electronic music for over three decades, having released records as Locust, and under his own name for labels like R&S, Apollo, Editions Mego and others. Initially influenced by Eno, Steve Reich, Tangerine Dream and other ambient-leaning composers, Van Hoen’s music can be seen as a precursor to artists like Boards of Canada, Ulrich Schnauss and Oneohtrix Point Never. Additionally, he was a onetime member of Seefeel, and you may remember the Black Hearted Brother albumhe made with Slowdive’s Neil Halstead, and Nick Holton.

Van Hoen’s new album, Nightvision, is out this week via Saint Marie Records. Falling somewhere between ambient and engaging, passive and compelling, the album dives in murky waters while sequenced beats skitter across the surface. On “I Love to Fly,” a recording he started in 1983 and finished this year, he uses samples from Martin Bell’s acclaimed documentary Streetwise, to eerie effect. The video for that track makes its premiere in this post and you can watch, and stream the whole album, below.

If you’re in Los Angeles this weekend, Van Hoen will be DJing on Saturday (11/14) at Perpetual Dawn IV, a festival that also features Peaking Lights, Kid606 and more. He’s also got European tour dates lined up for January. All are listed, along with the video, album stream, artwork and tracklist, below…


Mark Van Hoen at Big Takeover

Los Angeles-based composer, Mark Van Hoen, has delved into electronic music for nearly thirty-five years with records running the spectrum from Berlin school pulses to throbbing EDM, all of which influence his latest ethereal synth-driven release.

Nightvision ranges from pastoralHarmonia-like krautrock to the darkness of Italian horror movie soundtracks byClaudio Simonetti and Fabio Frizzi. Haunting electrified voices waft over lounging industrial beats while Eno-esque drones merge with a cloud of Vangelis haze. Elsewhere,Olekranon’s carefully constructed noise flirts with Tangerine Dream’s heady mind expansion, and cosmic Klaus Schulze hyperdrive dances to Autechre glitch. It’s simultaneously soothing and unsettling, that uneasy feeling of watching the sun come up while ghosts of the night before lurk in the shadows of memory.

Though a veteran, Mark Van Hoen shows no signs of the cynicism or laziness that come with the title. Step into his surreal space and float away for awhile.


Mark Van Hoen at The Vinyl District

Electronic music is often judged on the breakthroughs reliably brought to the turntable by fresh voices. Although focusing on newcomers is surely understandable, the worthwhile contributions of veterans shouldn’t be misplaced, and the latest release from UK born and current Los Angelino Mark Van Hoen is an excellent example. Nightvision finds the longstanding solo artist and deft collaborator exploring familiar territory and avoiding redundancy; it’s out November 13 on LP/CD/digital via the Saint Marie label.

Prominent on Mark Van Hoen’s résumé is his series of recordings as Locust, the tally accruing a mess of EPs and a half-dozen full-lengths beginning with 1994’s Weathered Well on the R&S Records ambient subsidiary Apollo. After the following year’s Truth is Born of Argumentsand ’97’s Morning Light, Locust shifted to the Touch imprint for ‘01’sWrong, a pair of CDs intended to be played simultaneously.

Locust then undertook a long hiatus as Van Hoen remained highly active. In fact the output under his own name actually spans back to ’97’s The Last Flowers of the Darkness on Touch and prior to that ‘94’sAurobindo: Involution, a duo work with his Seafeel/Scala colleague Daren Seymour issued on Ash international.

Alongside extensive production credits additional creative partnerships have accumulated; early on there was the trio Autocreation in cahoots with Tara Patterson and Kevin Hector, their album Mettle hitting racks in ’94 through Inter-Modo, a fleeting imprint run by the Orb’s Alex Paterson. More recently Black Hearted Brother, Van Hoen’s duo with Slowdive/Mojave 3 guitarist Neil Halstead has emerged, releasing Stars Are Our Home through Sonic Cathedral Records.

Van Hoen’s arrival in the mid-‘90s may have heralded him as a new name, but he’d already been recording for a decade; Locust’s ’94 In Remembrance of Times Past collected ‘80s material, and so did The Worcester Tapes, 1983-1987, a limited edition cassette appearing under the Van Hoen moniker earlier this year on the Tapeworm label.

This ten-year period of activity is no shock, but far less likely is Van Hoen’s continued relevance in a field not especially known for fostering longevity. Part of the reason can perhaps be attributed to his loose allegiance to genre; unlike those scoring a big plunge into more rigidly outlined (or even faddish) waters, he’s evaded getting stylistically boxed in or for that matter tactically constrained; the early Locust stuff relied more on programming and sequencing, and After the Rain, the project’s ‘13 effort on Editions Mego derives from live playing in collab with Louis Sherman and a handful of singers.

Van Hoen’s not averse to beats but he’s also not accurately assessed as a dance guy. He leans instead into experimental, abstract, drone, and ambient territory, making his oeuvre well-suited for the home environment. Listing the expected influences of Brian Eno and Kraftwerk and sprinkling in the welcome but unsurprising additive of Steve Reich and less frequently cited precedent of David Sylvian, he later enthused over the inspiration triggered by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

That last name can imply a certain avant-severity, though extremes are not generally Van Hoen’s bag. While the layered vocal repetition of “Holy Me,” the final nine and a half minute track from his ’12 Editions Mego LP The Revenant Diary did tangle with the fringes, nothing onNightvision travels so far into the aural deep-weeds, the disc’s opener “All for You” utilizing gradually unfolding and slow-drifting keyboard patterns and minimal rhythmic undercurrents to produce an atmosphere fairly tagged as retro-futuristic as it lacks any palpable throwback irony.

It’s a bit like a blend of two professed Van Hoen faves, namely Cabaret Voltaire and Tangerine Dream, with the latter signifying a recurring cinematic quality. To wit, during “Froese Requiem I” the big beat promotes action, the keyboards instill dramatic tension, and the short spurts of tech suggest a potentially malicious robot lingering somewhere in the narrative.

Opening “Froese Requiem II” is an ethereal motif spiced with a touch of static, though the setting quickly shifts into glistening/burbling electro and drum thump. It’s somewhat akin to waking up at 2AM on the couch in the rec-room as the credits to a rented VHS tape unspool on the television screen. Certainly of interest to fans of John Carpenter’s sonic endeavors (soundtrack and otherwise), the diced femme voice lends distinctiveness to the piece.


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